During the past few months, the Federal Trade Commission has filed deceptive- advertising cases against two distributors of what is called adware or spyware. The insidious form of software subjects consumers and their computers to unwanted advertising and surveillance.
The five-member commission plans to escalate its attack by going after some of the big-name Internet advertisers that hire the online distributors.
"We need to stop the demand side of spyware," said Jon Leibowitz, one of the five commission members and a Democrat. "We will send letters to major corporations and entities that place the majority of these ads. This is a wake-up call to put them on notice. That would be a good way to choke off the money."
From later in the article:
The FTC announced last month that DirectRevenue and four of its principals settled charges that they used unfair and deceptive methods to get consumers to download software and then obstruct them from removing it. The company agreed to return $1.5 million in "ill-gotten gains," stop future downloads without consumers' express consent, and provide a way to locate and remove the adware from computers.
Leibowitz wrote a dissent in the case, calling the $1.5 million payment "a disappointment because apparently it leaves DirectRevenue's owners lining their pockets with more than $20 million from a business model based on deceit."
The FTC penalized Zango of Bellevue, Wash., $3 million for deceptive advertising in November.
I'm not holding my breath that we'll see our malware traffic decrease as a result of this.